By Stephen Kalema
Residents of Wakiso and Kampala districts have accused Uganda People’s Defence Forces of beating and robbing them.
Residents from Kampala in Luzira, Kirombe and Butabiika say UPDF soldiers bully and beat them without explanations whereas those in Matugga, Maganjo and Kagoma- Wakiso complain about the savage behavior of soldiers who have forcefully taken their money and mistreat them.
The army has denied the accusations.
This is the second week since UPDF top authorities ordered for the deployment of soldiers on streets of Kampala, the city outskirts and in Wakiso districts in a bid to provide extra support to Uganda Police Force.
This after top intelligence department received information that there are planned crimes expected to take place during the coming Christmas festivals.
However, some residents have started feeling irritated and insecure due to the ways UPDF soldiers have started conducting their operation.
For example Denis Jingo m from Matugga bodaboda stage said; “Soldiers have caused fear in the society, at first this initiative was good because crime rate is at least low but now soldiers themselves have turned into what they came to prevent. I was driving my client on Wednesday at around 0:23pm, soldiers just ambushed us and beat us. My client lost his property.”
Ivan Maniragaba, a resident from Kirombe also accuses soldiers of beating him without making an inquiry why he was moving at that time.
“I had a sick person at Benedict hospital in Luzira. As I was returning home at around 11:30pm, I met soldiers in Kirombe and immediately they started hitting me with batons,” he alleges. “I pulled out my National Identify card and one soldier told me all these people have Cards but if u have something more than ID (money) we shall let you go until I gave out all I had and I released.”
Watchdog reporter happened to make a night tour in the city suburbs of Kitintale, Kirombe and Luzira where he met soldiers he talked to.
“We are humans also and we have families, we don’t beat people from nowhere. Why haven’t we beaten you? But these are areas with people ready to kill us so when we face such characters we deal with them because they are a threat to the society which is the main reason why we are here,” one of the soldiers says.
Senior citizen Jessica Namusoke of Luzira appreciated the deployment of soldiers for sanity has been restored in the area.
“If residents claim soldiers mistreated them, I think its one way of fighting them but since the soldiers came sanity has hovered Luzira and Kirombe, Police had become like thieves but these soldiers are fine” said Namesake.
UPDF spokesman Brigadier Richard Karemire said such issues will be sorted out and however emphasized such issues can’t let them call off deployments.